The Online Dating Mistake You're Going To Want To Fix ASAP

Photographed by Sunny Shokrae.
To find success through online dating, you probably want to highlight your best qualities, do a little bragging, and put forth the shiniest, most accomplished version of yourself, right? Not quite.

According to a new study published in Communication Monographs, bragging in your dating profile won't actually get you many dates. Instead, people should focus on conveying honesty and approachability if they're looking to form a relationship.

The study, conducted by researchers Crystal D. Wotipka and Andrew C. High of the University of Iowa, surveyed 316 people ages 18 to 77 with experience using online dating sites. Participants were told to imagine they were seeking a partner on an online dating website, regardless of whether they were actually single. They were then shown fake dating profiles with varying levels of selective self-presentation (SSP) and "warranting." Selective self-presentation is highlighting your most attractive qualities, while warranting is backing up those claims — such as a providing a link to an external website.

After viewing their profiles, participants answered questions regarding their perception of each of the fictitious individuals — rating factors such as "trust and social attraction," "desire to date," and "likelihood of contact."

They found that profiles with high levels of SSP were less likely to receive high ratings of social attraction. Warranting, while associated with appearing more trustworthy, actually made high-SSP profiles appear even more arrogant, potentially decreasing the likelihood of the study participant's desire to get in contact. More bragging — even if you really are that cool and accomplished — does not equal more dating success.

“Daters should strive to present themselves as humble, ‘real’ people,” the authors told PsyPost.

So, while it's certainly fun to present our most ideal selves when online dating, a little humility could do us some good.

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